NATASHA PULLEY The Bedlam Stacks. Reviewed by Robert Goodman – Newtown Review of Books

I loved ‘The Watchmaker of Filigree Street’, so I’ve immediately added this to my MUST read list. I have no self-control 😉
An adventure full of wonder and discovery in The Bedlam Stacks. Natasha Pulley burst onto the fantasy scene last year with her stunning debut The Watchmaker of Filigree Street. This slightly steampunk tale of Victorian London was full of charm and whimsy but also beautifully observed, historically fascinating and populated with interesting characters. Now she …

Source: NATASHA PULLEY The Bedlam Stacks. Reviewed by Robert Goodman – Newtown Review of Books

The Belinda Triangle by Dick Hoffman

The times are right for dystopian future.  And, disturbingly, 2031 is not all that far away.  If we survive until then.  This novel is funny and scary.  Although not everyone will appreciate some of the humour.

The Belinda Triangle by Dick Hoffman

‘It’s still a wonderful country, what’s left of it.’

Picture this: in the very near future, after a(nother) Civil War America is no longer a super power.  Reduced to 48 states, chaos in Congress, an ever-increasing number of ridiculous and sometimes contradictory laws making life extremely difficult for many.  It’s 2031, and Doyle Beckett and his wife Geneva Rose Beckett of Colorado both lose their jobs on the same day. Doyle loses his job as a history professor because of financial cutbacks and Geneva (Gen) loses her job because pregnant women can no longer work outside the home.  Doyle has to do something urgently.  There’s the Financial Viability Act (FVA) to worry about: FVA scores are adversely affected by a lack of full-time employment, and children born to families with low FVA scores (in the bottom quartile) will have their children auctioned by the government for adoption by couples in the top quartile.

So, Doyle takes a job on a cruise ship.  He thinks he’s going to be delivering history lectures. Why is Geneva so opposed to Doyle taking this job?  Could it be because it will be a one-way trip for the passengers?   In the meantime, Geneva’s life becomes complicated.  Colorado is being terrorized by a militia.   Public transport is protected by machine guns.  Hostages are taken, lives are in danger.

The action shifts between Colorado and the cruise ship.  Will either Gen or Doyle survive long enough for their FVA score to be an issue?  And who is Belinda?


It’s complicated, convoluted and an interesting blend of dystopian comedic horror.  There are good guys some bad guys and some heroes.  And on the cruise ship, Belinda thinks she’s on a rehabilitation cruise.

Some elements of this novel had me laughing out loud, while other elements (especially around the purpose of the cruise and the treatment of the passengers) had me cringing.  The third set of elements had me worried: chaotic government in many countries and the current state of the world make some (at least) of the scenarios of ‘The Belinda Triangle’ seem possible.  Gulp.

Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Pronoun for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith

JAMES O’NEILL. The South China Sea and the risk of war: a summary. | John Menadue – Pearls and Irritations

It is self-evident that the risk of war is not confined to the South China Sea.  In fact, the risk of war there is probably less than in other significant flash points around the world.  

Source: JAMES O’NEILL. The South China Sea and the risk of war: a summary. | John Menadue – Pearls and Irritations